Team: New York Giants
2018 Record: 5-11 (4th, NFC East)
2019 Record: 1-2 (T-2nd, NFC East)
Outlook: The Giants floundered to a 5-11 record in 2018, finishing dead last in the NFC East. The lone bright spot was the emergence of Saquon Barkley, who put together a phenomenal rookie campaign that saw him lead the NFL with 2,028 scrimmage yards.
Barkley won’t see the field again for a while, thanks to a significant ankle injury suffered against the Buccaneers last week. However, just as New York lost its most potent weapon, a new offensive spark emerged that helped to push the Giants to a 32-31 comeback win over Tampa Bay.
Daniel Jones is no Barkley, but the rookie quarterback out of Duke has shown strong early signs that he was worth the first-round pick New York used to get him (a decision for which the team took some heat).
While that question won’t be answered definitively after one game, there’s no doubt that the Giants are in the midst of an era-ending transition, with Jones taking the starting job from two-time world champion Eli Manning. How long the “honeymoon” phase will last is anyone’s guess, but, for now, New York fans have a level of optimism Redskins faithful can only envy.
The Giants’ defense is another matter, as New York ranks 30th in the NFL in points allowed. They’ve surrendered 94 so far, which happens to be the exact number given up by Washington through three games. Weirdly, New York has also scored 63 points—again identical to the Redskins’ total.
How Worried Should We Be?: Very worried. And I say that fully believing that the Redskins actually have a better team than the Giants do.
New York has something just as important, though: momentum. The Redskins, which enter as underdogs for the twelfth consecutive game(!!!), are coming off another harrowing prime-time loss, while the Giants seemed to coalesce around Jones in that win over Tampa Bay.
The list of Washington’s issues is too long to recite in full here, but, to put things in perspective, the Trent Williams situation would be top-of-mind for any normal franchise. Here, it’s slipping into afterthought territory because weekly struggles—from Washington’s surprisingly weak defense to Jay Gruden’s standoffish attitude toward Adrian Peterson to the suddenly pressing question of who will be the team’s quarterback for the next few games—keep pushing it farther down that list. Because of that list, Redskins fans should remain very worried, even against an opponent as evidently beatable as New York.
Bigger-picture, should the Redskins lose to the Giants, someone on the Redskins’ coaching staff will be fired. I have no doubt of that. The only thing that might delay that termination a week is that it might make for a cleaner break to execute it after the inevitable blowout loss to the Patriots.
The real question is whether the overhaul would be limited to Greg Manusky (and possibly a defensive assistant or two), or if it would include pulling the plug on Jay Gruden.
Personally, I think Gruden is coaching for his job this week, but—plot twist—I actually like the Redskins to win.
As poorly as Washington has looked at times, the Redskins should have beaten the Eagles, were more competitive with Dallas than the Giants were, and, incredibly, were one botched Case Keenum play from having a shot to make it a one-possession game against Chicago.
I acknowledge that this is damning the Redskins with faint praise, but the point is that the Giants are easily the worst team Washington has played so far this year. Naturally, New York must feel the same way, but I think the Redskins respond this week and win a high-scoring game, along the lines of the Philly game, just with the opposite result.
And I feel that way regardless of who plays quarterback. Keenum. Colt McCoy. Dwayne Haskins (although I’m really hoping they hold off on making that move for a bit longer). Whoever. Terry McLaurin and company should be able to be consistently successful against a Giants defense that is dead last in the NFL in passing yards allowed.
Speaking of quarterbacks, Daniel Jones looks like a keeper, but teams switching QBs normally experience a one-week “sugar high.” I think the Giants had that last week. Jones will get solid numbers against the Redskins, but I think an improved pass-rush will ultimately do enough damage to keep New York from winning.
Having said all of the above, and even with a win on Sunday, if I had to bet my life savings on whether Jay Gruden will still be the head coach of the Redskins a month from now, I would wager on “no.”
Let’s change things up this week: Who will be the head coach of the Washington Redskins as of December 1, 2019?
This poll is closed